A titrimetric method for monitoring toxicity in suspended biomass was applied in order to measure the activity of nitrifying biofilms and to determine the effect of several toxic compounds on the biofilm. Three typical tannery compounds, quebracho extract, NaCl and Cr+3 were selected to study their toxicity on the biofilms. The results obtained showed an acceptable repeatability of the method for all the toxicants tested with an average standard deviation of less than 10%. Biofilm systems showed higher resistance to the toxicants, when the results obtained using suspended nitrifying biomass, were compared with those found in the literature. The IC50 obtained with quebracho was 8.8 g/L of quebracho extract, while around 65% of maximum activity was attained with 8.7 g/L of NaCl or 120 mg/L Cr+3. The quebracho extract, NaCl and Cr+3 were 26%, 38% and 18%, respectively, less toxic in the biofilm system than for a suspended biomass culture.

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